Thursday, May 23, 2019

A satisfying Sangiovese.

Tonight it was time to drink the Pestoni Family, 2017 Sangiovese that I purchased at the winery's tasting room on May 15th.  Paired with something suitably Italian and tomato based for dinner, this was a simply lovely wine.  Quite savory and peppery, with lots of red fruit and dried herbs this wine went great with dinner.  The acidity?  Did I mention the acidity?  Lovely, strident and joy producing the acidity was perfect with my pasta and red sauce.  I must go and purchase some more: always nice to have a domestic Sangiovese in the cellar when pasta is on the menu.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

A solitary, May flower.

It's cold, it's wet - very unfortunate weather.  If I were a Pinot grigio flower bud I would not want to make my debut in the meteorological conditions that Vinoland is experiencing right now.  Thankfully, my grapevines do not have the same distaste for precipitation as does their guardian/pruner.  (Which begs the question, what is the exact nature of my relationship with those hundreds of green, fuzzy things out there?)  Mother Nature is in charge and when it is time to flower, it is time to flower.  Rain be damned.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Waiting in the rain.

The rain has returned - with a vengeance.  And it is forecast to rain every day for the next week.  Disgusting weather.  I suppose I should be thankful for bloom being a bit delayed this year, at least I don't have to worry about all this rain blasting the flowers off the vines.  Sigh.  What is a Vinogirl to do?  Go wine tasting, of course.
A quick drive up Highway 29 (in heavy rain, light traffic) found me at Pestoni Family Estate Winery.  I chose to visit Pestoni, established in 1892, as I wanted an authentic Napa Valley experience.  Or should I say what the Napa Valley experience used to be.  I have been feeling a little jaded with the wine industry lately (or rather the theme park direction the Napa valley seems to be heading in), so a quick dose of Napa Valley history seemed to be just what was needed.
A rather old-fashioned, brown tasting room, which seemed a tad dim on this grey day, the Pestoni experience was still a suitable antidote to the new, gimmicky wineries that seem, more and more, to be the way of wine's future in the Napa Valley.  I was interested in tasting Pestoni's 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, their 2018 Rosé and their 2017 Sangiovese.  So I did, and I liked all three wines sufficiently that I went ahead and purchased a bottle of each.
Upon leaving Pestoni I had to stop to let the Wine Train pass as it headed north.  Whilst I waited, I braved the rain and took a photograph.

Thursday, May 09, 2019


I have spent a lot of time in the vineyard since I returned to California: I am paying for going on holiday during the spring bud break-bacchanalia.
The weather in Vinoland continues to be unusually cool which has been a bit of a boon as whilst I was away the vines have had a bit of a slower start to the growing season.  There is no evidence, as yet, of flowering in the Orange muscat (OM), or the Pinot grigio.  Flowering was retarded in 2018, so I'm expecting 2019 to be late also.  However, it's not as if the grapevines were dormant in my absence, there is plenty of growth for me to deal with.
The OM is more than a little unruly, I was positively slapped silly as I struggled to stuff the recalcitrant shoots into the trellis wires. I'm not a wimpy person, but at one point I almost felt that if I got thwapped in the face one more time I was going to burst into tears.  It hurt!
Whilst I'm not saying a grapevine has the ability to bear malice (even with my proclivity to be a tad anthropomorphic), I do feel I was being severely reprimanded for my dereliction of viticultural-duty.  Ouch.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Anyone for cricket?

Thud is good at discovering interesting wines for me to try.  The ones he finds can be of interest due to an unusual varietal or blend, a compelling place of origin, or a gripping backstory.  Or, as is the case with this wine, a celebrity connection: former England cricket star Sir Ian Botham OBE (incidentally, born about 2 miles away from where I'm sitting).
The 2017 Botham All-Rounder, Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia) is definitely not a complex wine, but I wouldn't expect it to be for a wine that costs about £8.00 (currently about $10.50).  Produced from several vineyards in South Eastern Australia, and the result of a collaboration with Paul Schaafsma (innovative wine industry guru), The All-Rounder is a medium bodied, invariably quaffable, fruit forward, usual-suspect-berry-packed red.  Thanks Thud for the easy to swallow wine - bit of a dibbly dobbly, really.
Sir Ian was a rather big deal when I was in my teens (I do like a bit of cricket) and is considered one of England's best ever to play the game: excellent at both batting and bowling (an all-rounder).  As a retired sportsman, he is currently in an advert on the telly hawking the Revitive Medic, an electrical muscle stimulator/circulation booster.  He isn't drinking wine in the advert, but methinks he should be.  In my opinion, a glass of wine would certainly aid in the relaxation of Sir Botham's, or anybody's, aching muscles.